Lone anti-terrorism vigilante burns down village he took for jihadist camp (PHOTOS)
The fire in the village Lopets, some 100km west of Russia’s Northern Capital, started on Wednesday morning. The blaze destroyed nine dwellings and four sheds, but caused no loss of life or injuries, local police said, according to the local TV channel 47.
Police added that an inebriated resident in his mid-50s started the fire in his own home and that it spread throughout the village.
However, the regional news website 47news.ru paints a much more dramatic chain of events than the formal report reveals. It reported that the alleged arsonist, Oleg Gerasimov, ran around the village with a canister of gasoline, setting fire to his neighbors’ property.
When firefighters arrived at the scene, Gerasimov reportedly rammed his car into the fire truck and attacked the crew with pepper spray and a chainsaw, the report said.
The man was spurred into action by a delusion, the site says, citing the accounts of police officers, who later arrested Gerasimov. The man apparently was long convinced that other houses in the village had been rented to a group of Islamist terrorists, who used it as a staging ground for further attacks.
“There is a base of future bandits and killers in Lopets. The locals have been providing them homes since the 1990s, or even earlier. When the turmoil starts, the bandits will start beating the people abandoned by the government,” the vigilante reportedly wrote in a statement to police explaining his actions.
Officers told the news site that apparently Gerasimov’s conspiracy delusion has been triggered by the news reports following Monday bombing in the St. Petersburg Metro, which left 14 people dead.
Luckily, the alleged arson spree didn’t harm anyone. The village is mostly uninhabited during winter, with owners coming to their country houses to spend weekends and holidays during the summer.